Writing to Inspire: Author Interview


It was such a pleasure to be interviewed by blogger and aspiring author, Naomi Downing.

To read the original interview, click here.

  • When did you start writing?

Since the moment I could grasp a pencil, I’ve been writing stories. Being an avid reader inspired me to write books of my own. I wanted to create something that would connect with readers as much as I connected with the works of other authors. Writing, for me, was a poignantly personal form of expression and self-discovery. In middle school, I wrote two novels and posted over sixty short-stories on a teen writing website. It was during this time that I set the goal of being published by sixteen. The Prime Way Program: Be the Victor was released twenty-five days before my sixteenth birthday.

  • Of your two books, which do you do you like better? Which did you have more fun writing?

Asking me which book I like most is like asking a mom which of her children is her favorite.

I love both equally because they reflect different times in my life and progress as a writer. Be the Victor was the first of my books to be published; it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I was deeply connected to my characters when writing Just Strength and absolutely adore the book’s setting. Both novels were fun to write! They each explore new worlds, situations, and variations of characters.

  • What made you decide to self publish? Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about self publishing?

As a fifteen-year-old wanting to publish her debut novel, self-publishing offered me the chance to have control over the released content of my book, the cover, and a large percentage of profit from sales. Originally, I had hoped to take the more traditional publishing route; but after several setbacks, it became clear that self-publishing was the route God wanted me to take.

For those of you who are considering self-publishing, I do have a few tidbits of advice. First, be aware that self-publishing requires you to be the author, publisher, agent, cover-shoot coordinator, and publicist. You are in control of every aspect of your publication, which is both a gift and a burden. Second, always aim for quality. As a self-published author, you will be constantly trying to prove that your book is worth reading. There won’t be an agent or a publishing house vouching for you, so you must do everything possible to create a product of topnotch quality. Invest the money! Find a great editor! Pick an original cover! Do not give anyone a reason to criticize the format and presentation of your book. Lastly, don’t be discouraged. It’s easy to feel defeated during and after the publishing process. Keep working! Stay strong! Never give up!

  • Do you have any advice for a new writer?

Write for the right reasons.

I know from personal experience that the idea of being an author seems spectacular. Write a book, publish, become rich and famous—that is the three-step plan many people find themselves drawn towards. I’m sorry to say that the life of an author does not usually fit that plan and if you spend your time writing to achieve that plan, you’re going to be disappointed. Write because you love to write. If you are connected with your characters and believe in the story you are creating, it doesn’t matter if you are the next J.K. Rowling. You’ll love your book because it is your book. Later success is but a bonus.

  • What were a couple of things you were most excited about when you published your books?


Until publishing, my books were my secrets. They belonged solely to me until the day I released them to the public and then, they belonged to everyone. I was thrilled to develop a fan-base, receive reviews and fan-made art. My secrets had become alive. Kyle and Cora, my main characters, were as real in the minds of readers as they were in my own. To know that other people were able to experience the relationships and story that I’d spent years creating was truly exciting, but also terrifying. When writing a book, an author must be completely and utterly transparent. So I knew that since my novels were available to the public’s scrutiny, I’d be vulnerable to scrutiny as well. I tell people often that it was like allowing someone to look into my underwear drawer; I felt exposed.

To hear my own words…

I almost started crying when I heard the robotic Kindle voice read my book aloud. It was exciting to hear my words and know that they meant something to someone other than me.

  • What kind of book covers capture your attention?

As disappointing as it is, people do judge books by their covers. I am one of those people. Since my favorite genres are YA dystopian, SciFi, and speculative, I am attracted to covers that are well composed and properly reflect/illustrate their story. Originality is important!

When brainstorming ideas for the covers of my novels, I decided that I wanted each cover to be inspired by a pinnacle moment in the book, reflect a sense of desperation and grit. I write thematic stories. My readers should see that element visualized in the book covers.

  • Can you name a few books that are similar to yours? (you can use your imagination if you need too. 😉 )

I have a tendency to write books that cannot be placed in any one genre. The Prime Way Trilogy is a mixture of YA medical SciFi and dystopian. To find a similar story, you would have to fuse together books and movies such as Divergent, The Hunger Games, Captain America, X-Men, and I Am Number Four. Even then, the book formed wouldn’t be exactly the same as mine.

  • What is one thing you want your readers to come away with after reading your books?

Authors have an amazing power. Their words are lenses; they allow readers to see the world differently, from a new perspective, discover more about themselves and humanity as a whole. I want my readers to finish my books and be motivated to overcome the obstacles to their lives, think deeply about the world’s situation and possible future, and also be inspired to pursue whatever God has called them to do. The Prime Way Trilogy was written during a time in my life when I had the choice to either give up my dream, succumb to what other people titled as normality, or fight for what I believed was my calling. My personal struggle is reflected in my books; but of course, I wasn’t conflicted with programming and a misanthropic villain determined to destroy humankind.

  • Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing at my desk, but coffeehouses are also a favorite place.

  • Do you have a writing schedule? (and if you do, would you like to share it with us?)

I do not have a formal writing schedule. In the past, I worked on my books for at least five hours every day. This semester has been different, due to my college courses. I haven’t been able to write as much as I’d like, but I plan to spend all of December and January writing my current stand-alone novel. Remember, life is constantly changing. Your writing schedule must adjust to fit your lifestyle. It’s not easy to make those adjustments; but if you prioritize your writing, you’ll find the time to do it.


The Moon And Arrow Book Tour


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to share my story with two groups of homeschooling students and challenge them to pursue their dreams young. Tessa Hall made the experience even more fun!IMG_5696IMG_5686


How To Make Inspiration Boards For Your Novel…


For those of you who are attempting NaNoWriMo, writing a book, or in need of a laugh, watch this tutorial I recently filmed with author, Tessa Emily Hall! We share the inspiration behind our own personal storyboards and discuss the benefits of creating visuals.

Big News!


Every author has quirks.

Especially me.

One of my many unique oddities is the hand-drawn, 6.2′ man taped to the wall of my bedroom. He was created two-and-a-half years ago while I was writing the first book in my trilogy, “The Prime Way Program: Be the Victor.”

The man on my wall is none other than Kyle Chase, the courageous, handsome heartthrob from the elaborate tangles of my imagination. I love him like most authors love for their characters.

As of now, Kyle is plastered over my clothes hamper, slightly faded, not exactly atomically correct, and has a slight makeup smear on his right cheek (I’m not crazy, I promise.) To save him from inevitable destruction (a.k.a. the garbage can), I must do as all artists and authors do when their work begins to age…

I must laminate Kyle Chase.

Yes, this coming Tuesday, he will be driven to a nearby Hobby Lobby for some needed rejuvenation. And once he’s mummified in plastic, he will attend college with me and spend the rest of his days pinned to the wall of my office; “forever and always.”

For most people, my confession might seem absolutely bonkers; but fellow authors, artists, and abnormal citizens might disagree. So tell me, am I insane or not? (Comment below)

Kyle Chase

Q&A from Website Interview


What inspired you to write The Prime Way Program?

I’ve always loved to read and write. It became a mission of mine to write something that someone else would fall in love with, as I fell in love with other books and characters. My goal was to publish a book by sixteen, which was attained; but I cannot accept credit for the creation of The Prime Way Program. It was a God-thing, and it’ll always be a God-thing. I’m not changing my story to fit anyone else’s agenda or beliefs.

My attention-span is more like King James’ than Queen Elizabeth’s. I like action. If something doesn’t blow-up, die, or ache with emotional-despair in the first few chapters, I can’t promise that I’ll enjoy reading the book. The Prime Way Program took-on those characteristics; action-filled, suspenseful, intense. I never want my readers to be bored, which was hopefully attained.

Music continues to inspire me on a daily basis. I listen to a lot of film-scores and acoustic artists very few people have heard of (Ben Howard, Gabrielle Aplin, Jon Foreman). I’m also inspired by places and experiences. I like being hands-on and doing the activity I’m writing about (except war and other violent matters).

In what ways can you relate to your protagonists, Kyle and Cora?

Kyle and Cora are both teenagers, confronted with opposition, confliction, and the choice to either succumb to their own fears or rise up victorious. They battle with their own insecurities while thrust into a dangerous world, which demands that they grow-up and accept adult roles. In many ways, I created these characters to allegorically portray the struggles a teenager faces on a daily basis. Of course we’re not genetically-altered or in the midst of an apocalypse, but we are confronted with opposition. We battle our own insecurities. And we have the choice to either succumb to our own fears or rise up victorious.

Kyle is, what I would consider, the perfect man. He’s flawed but is full of integrity, understands the true meaning of courage, love, and sacrifice; and of course, is a total hunk. I relate most with his bond to his family. Although his parents and siblings aren’t perfect, he loves them and will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. I feel the same way towards my family. I’d give my own life to protect them.

Cora is the exact opposite of Kyle. She’s headstrong, imperfect, and beneath her many masks and emotional-barriers, she’s a teenage girl. Out of all the characters in The Prime Way Trilogy, I relate most with her. We both battle with insecurities, our secret want to love and to be loved, and the fear of hurting those we care about.

When did you start writing The Prime Way Program, and how long did it take?

I’ve been writing books based on The Prime Way Program since 2011. The first novel I composed was a back-story to my characters and the conspiracy behind the Program. Simply put, it wasn’t good; but I loved the story so much, I began writing what I thought would be a sequel. To my amazement, the sequel ended up as the first installment in the trilogy. Re-titled, The Prime Way Program: Be the Victor was published February, 2013. Each novel took six-months to write, and many more to edit.

The Prime Way Program: Just Strength was started in March of last year and will be published January 28th, 2014.

What are you working on now?

After I finish college applications and a mandatory school-course, I hope to begin writing the third and final installment of The Prime Way Trilogy. It’s a beast of a task, which I expect to take longer to write than the usual six-months (because I want to prolong the inevitable goodbye between me and my beloved characters). Once all three books have been published, I’ll pull an idea from my stash and start on a new project.

What do you hope to accomplish in your writing career?

The Prime Way Trilogy has been a great beginning for my career, and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to start publishing at a young age. Every day I grow closer to perfecting my craft; so when I’m older and in need of a suitable income, I’ll have the ability and resources to continue writing. Of course I want what every author wants: bestselling books worldwide, an agent, movie deals, etc. There are an infinite number of goals I desire to reach, but I’ll be content with however far God allows me to climb. My dreams are big. His are bigger.